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Can New DNA Technology Help Track Down Killer Of Little Girl Who Inspired Amber Alert System, 25 Years Later?

Amber Hagerman was riding her bicycle in January 1996 when a man in a pickup truck abducted her as she kicked and screamed.

By Gina Tron
Amber Hagerman Pd

A quarter-century after the murder of a 9-year-old Texas girl — a case that subsequently inspired the nationwide AMBER Alert system in missing children cases — investigators are still on the hunt for her killer and they’re hoping technological breakthroughs will help solve the case.

Amber Hagerman was abducted on Jan. 13, 1996, the Arlington Police Department noted in a press release on Wednesday, marking the 25th anniversary of the kidnapping. Hagerman was riding her bicycle in a parking lot when a witness saw her being taken by a man in a black pickup. She reportedly “kicked and screamed” as she was forced into the vehicle, police say.

Her body was then discovered four days later in a rain-swollen Arlington creek, four miles away from where she was abducted.

For the past 25 years, investigators have combed through more than 7,000 tips. However, no arrests were ever made in the case; still, the case has remained open and the hunt for the child’s killer is still active.

Investigators are optimistic that people with information will come forward.

“We are hoping someone, somewhere knows something they just haven't told us yet to bring a small piece of closure to her mother and family members,” police stated on Wednesday.

The police department also announced that they have plans to submit pieces of physical evidence for additional testing later this year, in hopes that new advances in technology can help produce a DNA profile.

Det. Grant Gildon said at a Wednesday press conference that he hopes the DNA could lead to a match.

The witness believes that the kidnapper may have been a white or Hispanic man with a medium build and brown or black hair. He was likely in his 20s or 30s at the time.

Hagerman’s family is still hoping for answers.

“I miss her every day,” her mother Donna Williams said at the press conference. “She was so full of life and I want to know why, why her? She was only a little girl.”

She pleaded with her daughter’s killer to turn himself in.

“Amber needs the justice, deeply, deeply needs justice,” she said.

Gildon said he believes the case will be solved.

Williams and police urge anyone with info to come forward. Arlington police have set up a new tips line for tips: 817-575-8823. Oak Farms Dairy is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case.

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